Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari denied nod to travel in state plane to Dehradun; Devendra Fadnavis slams CM Uddhav Thackeray

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Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was scheduled to travel by a state government aircraft to Dehradun in Uttarakhand on Thursday (February 11), but the permission to use the plane was not granted even as the governor had boarded the aircraft, PTI reported.

The governor later took a commercial flight to travel to Dehradun, a statement from the Raj Bhavan said.

This comes amid uneasy ties between the state’s Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government and the governor, with both the sides being critical of each other in the past.

The Raj Bhavan statement said the governor’s secretariat had written to the government authorities seeking permission for the use of aircraft “well in advance” on February 2.

The office of the chief minister was also informed about it, the statement stated.

When asked about the issue, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar told reporters here he had no clue and will be able to comment after gathering some information on the issue.

However, the opposition BJP in Maharashtra accused the state government of being “egoistic” and indulging in “childish acts”, and demanded an apology from the Shiv Sena- led dispensation over this.

According to the Raj Bhavan statement, Koshyari is scheduled to preside over the valedictory function of the 122nd Induction Training Programme of IAS officers at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie in Uttarakhand on Friday (February 12).

He was scheduled to depart from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai for Dehradun at 10 am on Thursday (February 11), the statement said.

“Today, on 11th February 2021, the Hon’ble Governor reached the CSIM Airport at 1000 hrs and boarded the government plane. However, he was later informed that the permission for the use of Government Aircraft had not been received,” the statement said.

As directed by the governor, tickets for Dehradun were booked for the governor on a commercial aircraft leaving Mumbai at 12.15 pm immediately and accordingly, he left for Dehradun, it said.

Earlier, a source told PTI, “Normally, governors do not wait for the permission to come. He sat in the aircraft. The pilot then said the permission was not given yet.”

When asked about this, Pawar said he had no clue.

“I will take details on reaching the Mantralaya (state secretariat) and only then will be able to say anything,” the deputy chief minister said.

Meanwhile, former Maharashtra minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said the MVA government should apologise for “insulting” the governor. “If the state government has purposefully denied permission, it is a “blot” on the state’s reputation,” he said.

“If this embarrassment is not intentional, then the state government should suspend the official who failed to issue the flying permission in time to the governor,” he added.

The government should apologise and avoid further escalation of the issue, Mungantiwar said. He also alleged that the state government has insulted the constitutional post of governor.

“It is an unfortunate incident. Such an incident had never happened in the state earlier. Governor is not a person, it is a designation. People come and go, but the designation stays,” Fadnavis said.

The governor is the head of the state. In fact, it is the governor who appoints the chief minister and his cabinet, Fadnavis pointed out.

“The government should understand that it is insulting a constitutional post,” he said.

Notably, state Congress chief Nana Patole on Wednesday (February 10) said the MVA government has decided to move court over the ‘delay’ by the governor in the appointment of nominated members to the Legislative Council.

The state government recommended 12 names for appointment to the Council under the governor’s quota to Koshyari in the first week of November last year.

However, Fadnavis on Wednesday said it was the governor’s prerogative to approve or reject names recommended by the state government.

In October last year, during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Koshyari wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, asking if the latter had turned “secular” since he denied permission at that time to reopen temples in the state.

The CM later said he doesn’t need a “Hindutva certificate” from anyone.

During the pandemic last year, Koshyari also insisted on holding the final year exams of degree students in the state, but Thackeray at that time rejected the demand.

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